Copyright question

Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.
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Composers' Workshop
Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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Ceciltguitar
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Copyright question

Post by Ceciltguitar » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:18 pm

A composer is commissioned (well paid) to compose a piece.

Who owns the copyright?

the composer? OR

The person or institution that commissioned the piece? OR

Whichever party is specified as the copyright owner according to the contract between the mutual parties?

Thanks!

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guitarrista
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Re: Copyright question

Post by guitarrista » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:38 pm

In which country - the US?
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Kenbobpdx
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Re: Copyright question

Post by Kenbobpdx » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:56 pm

In the US the composer would generally be recognized as the copyright holder unless the copyright is contractually conferred onto another party. The act of commissioning would not automatically confer copyright to the commissioning entity.

Oftentimes an author retains rights to their work but a publisher will hold the copyright for the published work. In such cases there are normally royalties due the author from sales.
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Ceciltguitar
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Re: Copyright question

Post by Ceciltguitar » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:54 pm

Yes, in the US. Thank you, guitarrista, and Kenbobpdx for your responses

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Copyright question

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:09 pm

Everything there is up for negotiation. Who has the stronger position, tends to get the most favourable terms.
The only situation where there can often be a presumption of copyright is if something is written by an employee of e.g. a teaching institution, on behalf or at the behest of that institution, but then that would be present in the contract of employment.
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GuitarsWeB
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Re: Copyright question

Post by GuitarsWeB » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:20 pm

Kinda like a wedding photographer hired to shoot a wedding. He owns the rights to the negatives, in most cases.

prawnheed

Re: Copyright question

Post by prawnheed » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:28 am

In the US there are certain specific conditions under which a comissioned work might be considered a “work for hire” and therefore the commisioner would own the copyright.

A standalone piece of music composed by one person would not normally fall into this category and the composer owns the copyright unless he assigns it to someone else.

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